Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I do or I don't, I will or I won't

Is there a good time to be unromantic when it comes to weddings? How do you separate thinking with your head or your heart and is one more important than the other?
As women we're taught (at least in America) that our wedding day is the most important day of our lives. We're also tricked into believing that we really 'need' certain things to make this day perfect - that includes the perfect dress, the perfect hair, the perfect venue, the perfect shoes...the list is endless but not necessarily part of reality. I suppose it actually depends on the reality in which you live, and they way you perceive your big day to mesh with real life.

I think this is where I get confused.
What is 'real life' right now? What's most important right now? Currently, I'm planning a wedding. An international wedding. In addition, I'm also planning a big move. A big international move. The logistics of the two is making my eyebrows furrow in annoyance.
Here's why:
Weeks after the wedding I will be moving overseas.
With a wedding (my wedding, specifically) comes a name change which accompanies lots of paperwork and time given for bureaucratic nonsense.
Since I will be moving overseas, I will need an updated passport, a matching social security card and driver's license, plus name change documents and a slue of other things. All of these things take time to get, and require a marriage (or A LOT of money that I refuse to spend) in order to kick start the process.
We have a grand total of 3 weeks between the wedding day and the moving day. Definitely not enough time for any of that before we go.
There might be a solution, however.
A visit from my sweetheart in April provides us with ample time for..............get ready for it.........a civil ceremony. By having a civil ceremony in April, we could have ALL of that paperwork completed by the time we have the church wedding, and maybe even get the visa paperwork started in Norway.

I despise how logical this is.

The words "logical" and "wedding" just don't go together! (I'm a little sad that I actually wrote that because of how silly it sounds, but it's true!!) As a woman that grew up in America, it's almost justifiable to say that when it comes to weddings, you throw logic out the window. I mean, check this out:
Where's the logic in spending thousands and thousands of dollars on ONE day when you are planning on having a whole LIFETIME with the person you're celebrating with? That money could be spent on much more appropriate things!

See? Logic disappeared long ago but is suddenly rearing it's ugly head into my life. I don't know whether to welcome it or climb up the tallest building and throw it off the rooftop never to be seen again.

I want the day I planned to get married in my white dress to be the day I get married, not any other day. I want to look stunning and I want everyone else that comes to witness the event look fantastic as well. I want to eat cake and I want to dance and I want to drink champagne with everyone that came to share in the day.I want to sign my marriage license looking my best with my new husband and I want someone to take a picture of it all so we remember even when we're old.

But I also want my life after to be a little easier. I want some of the steps of this journey to be behind me so I don't have to stress so much over paperwork, finding a job, learning a new language, assimilating to a different culture, dealing with the police, and figuring out how to get my visa processed. I want some of the weight off my shoulders and some of the pressure out of the situation - and the way to do that is the civil ceremony.

You know, it's funny. Writing the paragraph about what I wanted on my wedding day got me giddy and excited. The paragraph after, the one about the civil ceremony, made me...kinda sad! I guess I feel that the civil ceremony would really take the excitement out of the big day. To use my dad's word: "anti-climatic". Spot on. I might also add "unromantic" to the list. The thing is - the big church wedding will be great no matter what, but I feel like some of the pizazz will be taken away from it.

It comes down to head v. heart/ logic v. emotion.
How do I choose?!!
What would you do if it were you?


  1. Alyssa...again we have something in common!!

    this time it's not me per's one of my best friends. She was in your dilemma more or less, planning to wed a Scottish dude. She just did the civil ceremony, and is planning on a wonderful, big Scottish wedding in 2012! She definitely had a lot of angst when coming to the conclusion, bc she always had visions of a wonderful, romantic wedding- not a civil ceremony. However she came to terms with it, and it has been the right choice for her. She needed to start her UK visa application ASAP, and she doesnt have the money right now for a nice ceremony. For you, it may or may not be the right choice. You have a couple of months to decide. Lykke til! :)

  2. definitely do the civil ceremony before. It will save you lots of headaches that you won't want at the beginning of a young new marriage. It won't hinder the magic of your big day! How could it? You'll be so giddy with excitement on that day.

    --Ashley J

  3. Marriage isn't a Disney movie. There are a lot of really practical (and wholly unglamorous) things to do before the big day. You have to set up your joint bank account, put each other’s names on life insurance policies, find a new place to live, stand in endless lines at the DMV and Social Security office, etc. The WEDDING is the glamorous time—starting a life together is anything but.

    While unromantic, the civil ceremony such a good idea. You'd have to go to the county clerk to get your marriage license anyway, so just think of the civil ceremony as part of the marriage license process.

    I promise you, either way, nothing can take away from the moment when you walk down the aisle surrounded by your family and friends. You will still be the beautiful bride with her handsome groom—the State of California is just a formality. People who do their photos ahead of time say that the wedding is unbelievable and special--it won’t be anti-climatic.

    To keep it special, maybe you should follow the super traditional rules so that you have something to look forward to in July. Don’t see each other before the ceremony, no sex before your wedding night, the white dress is only for the wedding day, etc. Basically go the extra mile to act unmarried. Know what you're looking forward to on your wedding day (cutting the cake, exchanging rings, etc.), and save it for July.

    You know the civil ceremony is the smart thing to do--the question is whether or not you WANT the civil ceremony to mean something. Do you want the family there with a celebration afterward? Do you want to acknowledge that you’re legally married? Or, do you want to just act like you only got your marriage license? A lot of people don't believe that marriages are real until they are married by a minister.

    As for the marriage license picture, the church provides a decorative one that photographs better anyway.

  4. Alyssa,
    Zach and I have talked about this lots. For us (even though we are not engaged yet) would rather have a civil ceremony just because we get better insurance, tax breaks and save us both a lot of worry and stress. I am the same way as you, "but but but it won't be special anymore!!" However with more thought I looked at it this way:
    The civil ceremony is just a way to make things go smooth, it's a legal document so all the stupid law people can stamp or check whatever they need to. However, your wedding day is where you two really join as one in front of your family and friends and celebrate!! Even though traditionally both events happen in one day, try not to think of it as two totally separate occasions.. more like one ceremony just leads to another. You will be so much happier, less stressed and really truly enjoy your "white wedding dress, champagne and dancing" day knowing that your move will go smoothly. Good luck!